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Administration, Ephesians 3

Recommended Procedure. Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading

Idea for group discussion leader: An effective administrator or manager is essential for the smooth operation of a family, business, church or other organization. Ask: what are the marks of an effective administrator or manager? Allow the participants time to answer and do not be afraid of silence. It usually takes ten full seconds for people to hear, process, sort, and then deliver feedback.

As we learned in our previous lessons, Ephesus was a mixed city of Jews and Gentiles. This created a lot of tension between the two groups in the church. This was one of the reasons for Paul's second and third missionary journeys - to encourage the Gentile believers, who were being told that believing was not enough; they needed to observe the Jewish Law and traditions. In our last lesson we saw that Jews and Gentiles in the church had an equal inheritance with equal rights. Though there is still a separate program for Israel, still in Christ a new body of believers is formed, which is composed of both Jews and Gentiles.

Today we observe more about the mysteries of this new union, which was administered by the Apostle Paul. Read chapter three and give a summary.

Answer 1


Where is Paul writing from? (vs.1) What might have been Paul's natural attitude? What does Paul do?

Answer 2


What does it mean that Paul is an administrator or steward of the mystery? When was Paul given this revelation to be the steward of this ministry (Ephesians 1:9; Acts 13:46; Acts 15:22-16:4)

Answer 3


According to Ephesians 3:6 what is the mystery that was revealed to Paul?

Answer 4


How did Paul view his gift, his stewardship of the assignment given to him? (vs. 7-9) Was it something he believed he deserved?

Answer 5


What does verse 10 mean? Also see 1Peter 1:12

Answer 6


What are the purposes of Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 (hint: introduced by the words "to ")

Answer 7


What do you think Paul might have been hinting at when he gave praise to God, saying "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think ..." (vs.20-21).

Answer 8


Lessons to Live by: (If you are the leader, ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verse:

2Corinthians 8:19b "... which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help." (NIV)

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A1: A summary of Ephesians 3: we learn how Paul was involved in bringing the message of Jew and Gentile union and equality in Christ, how he suffered for it, and his desire for the Ephesian believers to experience the love of Christ and unity, and for them to be strengthened inwardly by the Holy Spirit, especially during times of persecution.

A2: Paul probably wrote from his confinement in Rome. He may not have been in prison but was under house arrest and was allowed visitors (2Timothy 4:13). Naturally speaking, perhaps we might expect Paul to quit because he couldn't do anything anyway. What does Paul do? He continues his stewardship of the assignment given to him by God by writing letters. Are you limited in what you can do? Has God given you an assignment? Are there other ways that you might fulfill it? Unless he was released and went to Spain before his final imprisonment, Paul had finished his missionary journeys and would soon be executed.

A3: Paul was given an assignment by God and was caring it out.

On the first missionary journey the revelation was given. Acts 13:46-47

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" (NIV)

2. At the council of churches in Jerusalem (Acts 15) the assignment was officially given to him and he began to fulfill it (Acts 16:4). Are we faithfully caring out the ministries he gives us?

A4: Eph 3:6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (NIV) Chapter 2 lists their positional privileges, and chapter 3 their experiential privileges.

A5: No, Paul knew this administration was given to him was all God's grace and his power. How do you view your gifts given to you?

A6: Eph 3:10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms," (NIV) 1Peter 1:12 says,

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things," (NIV).

The angels in heaven did not know about God's plan to bring the Jews and Gentiles into one body, the church. They learn about it through observing the church.

A7: The purposes of Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 are

1. To be strengthened with power through His spirit in the inner that Christ may dwell in your hearts (be at home in your hearts) through faith; ...rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend...(You need to love each other from the heart, and You will be facing spiritual adversity and need to be unshakable).

2. to know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (that the Gentiles might find their full satisfaction in God instead of Artemis, god of the Athenians. Or for us, that we might not find our full satisfaction in God instead of anyone else or anything)

A8: In verse 20-21 Paul may be referring to the union of Jews and Gentiles to form one body, the church. And, the prayer may be an encouragement for those who are also suffering persecution.

Lessons to Live by:

  • God gives each of us an assignment. We should not quit but even serve God in our limitations.

  • We should be faithful stewards of the gifts or assignments He gives us.

  • We should remember our gifts are given by the grace of God. Do you know him? Have you been forgiven and given peace and spiritual life? (more...).

  • We need the Holy Spirit's empowerment to love others we might not like, and to effectively exercise the gifts he gives us.

  • As there are costs for freedom in our country, there are costs we must bear in our ministry to others. However, the cost is worth it to give others spiritual life and encouragement.

  • We should care about others in our ministries and encourage them with our support and prayer.

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